The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has called upon Members of Parliament to push for the formation of drugs and health service price control organ in an effort to improve the sector.
The call was made over the weekend by NHIF Board Chairman Deogratius Ntukamazina at a seminar for members of the Parliamentary Social Services Committee held at the Fund’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
“I ask you Members of Parliament to push for the establishment of an organ, which will control prices and treatment charges and if this will succeed, it will be a big step towards improving the sector,” he said.
He said there was also a need for the lawmakers to review the Health Insurance Act to allow the service to reach all Tanzanians.
“There is a need for legal powers, which will pave the way for better health services for all…there are so many policy issues which need your pressure such as efficiency of funds donated by the people in councils; proper use of these funds will result into improved treatment services,” he stressed.
Ntukamazina said that the NHIF board has allowed the Fund to conduct stakeholders’ meeting in each region to strengthen their participation in getting views and solutions to challenges facing the Fund.
NHIF director general Emmanuel Humba said that the Fund was facing a number of challenges such as lack of drugs in health centres, something which hinders efforts by the government to ensure that many people benefit from the Fund’s services.
The DG also said that lack of an organ to control prices for drugs and treatment charges was another challenge which poses difficulties to majority of Tanzanians as well as the Fund.
He said poor infrastructure and shortage of health workers specifically in rural areas has caused complaints from the Fund’s members particularly when they failed to get services on time.
Humba called upon the government to look into possibilities of forming an organ to control prices of drugs and medical devices.
Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi said that the seminar was an opportunity for MPs to learn on achievements and challenges facing the Fund as well as advice better ways to overcome them.
He also asked the MPs to sensitise their electorate to join the NHIF and the Community Health Fund so that they could enjoy health services through the two initiatives.
One of the committee members, Stephene Ngonyani, said that his people had been complaining of the services offered through the Fund.
He said that low income people have not been receiving good services, calling upon the Fund to improve the services.